cover image The Duke Is Mine

The Duke Is Mine

Eloisa James. Avon, $7.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-202128-1

James’s Regency-era rendition of “The Princess and the Pea” hits the trifecta of sizzling romance, engaging characters, and an enthralling, quick-moving story. Curvy, brash Olivia and slim, proper Georgiana are twins, raised by their social-climbing parents to be suitable brides for dukes. All seems assured until Olivia’s future husband, the dim-witted Rupert Blakemore, marquess of Montsurrey, turns 18 and declares that “he will not marry until he achieves military glory.” While he heads to war, Olivia accompanies Georgiana to meet Tarquin Brook-Chatfield, the widowed duke of Sconce and Georgiana’s possible suitor. But Tarquin becomes immediately enamored of Olivia, who must then decide whether to risk Georgiana and Rupert’s disappointment by returning Quin’s affections. Olivia is a notably affable female protagonist whose intellect and good humor make her stand apart from many of the meek women of her era. Only James’s weakness for modern colloquialisms (e.g. “wardrobe malfunction”) mars this endearing tale. Agent: Inkwell Management. (Jan.)